Posts Tagged positive attitude

I Never Give Up

One of the lessons I learned early in life is that you can’t give up. You have to keep plugging, trying, working to achieve your goal. It sounds obvious, but I am amazed how often others settle for second place or failure. Now second place doesn’t sound so bad…unless there are just two of you competing on opposite sides of the tennis court. So often I have to pep up my partner in doubles who is resigned to losing…even though that partner is a much better and more consistent player than I am. Surprising!

We were losing something like 2-5 and down 5-40. But I told my partner that “I never give up.” I am sure he smiled skeptically…but we came back and won the set. Fortunately for me, lots of other players were watching our comeback. Gave me some cred with these much better players. I was just a sub at the time, scraped off the bottom of the barrel at the last minute of desperation. Since then, I have been invited to sub more often.

I was proud to show my children how I wrote an op ed piece about partisanship and fights between Repubs and Demos. Then it was rejected by the NYTimes and some other major papers. I found a list of the 100 biggest papers in the country and started offering it to the largest circulation ones first. I was pretty worn out by all the rejection, but the 45th one I sent it to–the Seattle Times–published it enthusiastically. A good example and role model for a child.

I used to tell salespeople who worked for me that if you contact 100 prospects, you might find 10 who are interested…and then one–only one–might bite. But you have to keep calling. You can’t stop after 13 and say no one wants what you are offering. I built a successful publishing company with that attitude.

So all those years of successes after persistent action gave me more encouragement and confirmation that you should keep going, put in more effort, never stop striving towards your goal.

What happens if you do that and fail early on, never succeed, don’t see the sense of continuing to make the effort? I guess your life experience would convince you that you should stop trying. I mean what’s the sense of keeping going? Only rats keep going down the same dead end of the maze.

Is it just luck? How did I acquire that attitude of persisting? Was I born with it? My father was an extreme optimist. My mother thought he saw the world with rose-colored glasses. She wasn’t as hopeful about things as he was. I thought he was often naive. I thought she was often more realistic. But both world views seemed to have rubbed off on me. Helped me turn out pretty well.

I am a believer…I never give up…

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Success Often Requires A Positive Attitude

The best thing about winning the third set and the match in tennis today, was that my partner, Joe Marshall, enabled me to change my attitude by 180 degrees. Even though I have written about how important the correct attitude is in sports, as well as in life, I forget or am unable to always apply it in a stress situation.

Having won the first set in a tiebreaker and then losing the second, we were really after the third set…the big one. My team was down 3-5, I couldn’t get my first serve in, and Joe and I were missing easy winners. I automatically attempted to excuse myself and make him feel better by stating that “I guess we are both off today.” He slapped me (verbally) right down in a nice way, ordering me to focus on the next point, not think negatively, and certainly not give up. We then played our best points of the day, broke our opponents twice and won 7-5. I even served the winning game.

Given how many unforced errors we were making, I would never have believed we could come back from being so far behind. It was magical. And I had many great winning net volleys and overhead smashes, along with my partner’s numerous gets and points. How does this happen? How do a few words cause not only the renewed determination, but the ability to actually achieve the goal? How does a changed attitude lead to success?

I don’t know. I wish I did. Can you help me understand?

The awareness that it is possible should persuade me to never give up on the court and in my life. We all have our down days and periods, but maybe it just takes someone jarring us out of bad habits and poor attitudes to make us believe we can do it. I know people with positive attitudes are healthier than those who are negative. And those who believe in themselves have a better chance at succeeding in the task than those who are sure they will never achieve their goals.

But how does just believing something actually affect the outcome. Or even just striving and aiming for a target help you reach it? I’ve read that faith can move mountains. But how does that work?

Maybe it doesn’t matter “how,” but only that it does. The cancer-origin doctor I quoted earlier this week said he can see that people like the Japanese who didn’t eat much red meat didn’t have much cancer. Then when their diet changed to be more Western and included more red meat, the number of cancer patients “skyrocketed.” He has no idea exactly what the biological connection is. But he can see the cause and effect.

Ben Franklin eliminated from his vocabulary words like “I hate…it kills me…I could have died…” He said in his autobiography that these thoughts were negative, poisoned his brain, would cause harm. I never forgot that guidance that my father insisted I follow as a child. If I had been playing much tennis then, he might have said what Joe told me today.

Now let’s see if I can apply this advice more often in the future. Like the next time I play tennis. What could be more important?

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